IDF changing military strategy in Palestinian-run parts of Judea, Samaria

The tactic is being considered after a series of recent clashes in Jenin with dozens of armed Palestinian terrorists and the death of an IDF soldier.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The IDF is considering using more aerial support in its counter-terrorism operations in Judea and Samaria following recent clashes in Jenin with dozens of armed Palestinian terrorists at a time, Hebrew media reported.

The change in tactics would include using combat helicopters and drones to support troops engaged in serious firefights with Arab combatants. In general, until now, using such firepower has been confined locally to army operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The move has gained momentum following the death of senior Yamam counter-terror operative Sgt. Maj. Noam Raz last week near the Jenin refugee camp during one such clash. The IDF force came under “indescribable” gunfire during the arrest raid, according to one senior officer.

Helicopters could silence such forces with a single missile, but the pros and cons of giving such an order would have to be weighed just as carefully as they are in anti-terror operations in Gaza; chances are high that bystanders could be hurt as well in crowded urban areas like Jenin.

The IDF has conducted dozens of raids to capture Palestinian terrorists in Judea and Samaria after a spate of attacks over the last two months that have killed 19 Israelis and injured dozens.

Jenin and its environs, which is a known hotbed of terror that the Palestinian Authority controls in name only, has been a frequent army target as  security forces try to prevent the next attack, and the army has stated that it has no intention of halting its lifesaving activities.

More and more often, groups of Palestinians have rushed to fight the soldiers off with guns instead of chunks of masonry and improvised explosive devices, which have been their main weapons of choice until now. These can also be deadly, bu they do not constitute the danger that concentrated live fire does to the troops and police forces on the scene.

Meanwhile, Channel 12 reported Monday that one of the gunmen wounded in the clash that killed Raz is an Israeli citizen. The son of a Palestinian father and Israeli mother, he lives in Jenin and joined the terrorists fighting there against Israel.